I love good low-budget slasher films. However, good low-budget slasher films are too few and far between. John Carpenter’s original Halloween was the first, the best, and one of my all-time favorite horror films. I saw Halloween at the now-defunct Mapletown Theater, in my hometown of Maple Hts., OH, when it was released in October 1978. I also saw the first Friday the 13th movie in that same theater when it was released in May 1980.
I have since suffered through most of the rest of the Friday the 13th movies, always hoping for a good low-budget slasher film, but, ultimately getting a bad low-budget slasher film with some good “kills.” However, one film in this franchise, other than the first, is not bad at all. That film is Jason X (2001), the tenth Friday the 13th entry. In fact, Jason X, which is basically Friday the 13th: In Space, is pure, unashamed sci-fi/horror fun, and, it’s the only film in the series, except the first, that I’ve watched more than once or twice, and, enjoyed every time. Even if you don’t like Jason X, you have to admit that it’s not as bad as Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997).
In 2010, Jason (Kane Hodder) is awaiting cryogenic suspension at the Crystal Lake Research Facilty. He can’t be killed, so they decide to freeze him. However, as Rowan (played by adorable Canadian actress Lexa Doig) readies the freezer, Dr. Wimmer (played by Canadian horror director David Cronenberg) arrives with plans to study Jason instead. Rowan warns Wimmer‘s team against it, and, of course, Jason escapes and kills them all. Rowan lures Jason into the cryo-stasis unit, locking him inside, but, he thrusts his machete through the door, stabbing her. His action sends the facility into lockdown, freezing them both.
In 2455, a group of students find the frozen bodies and bring them back to their transport ship Grendel, which is returning home to Earth 2, since Earth 1, or Earth, has become unlivable. Rowan, barely alive, is reanimated using nano-bugs which repair her damaged tissue, while Jason, presumed dead, is carted off to be dissected. Rowan warns Prof. Lowe (Jonathan Potts) about Jason, but, he doesn’t listen. Of course, Jason‘s body thaws, and, soon, the students, the crew, and the “grunts” (soldiers), begin to die, one by one.
Best Kill #1: Jason dunks Lowe‘s intern Adrienne‘s (Kristi Angus) face in liquid nitrogen, then smashes it into bloody pieces on the counter.
Best Kill #2: Jason throws grunt Condor (Steve Lucescu) onto a giant screw, and his body spins slowly to the bottom. Later, grunt Briggs (Dylan Bierk) finds him. “What’s his condition?” Sgt. Brodski (Peter Mensah) asks. “He’s screwed,” she replies.
Best Kill #3: Jason punches his fist through a wall, grasping Brodski, then, thrusts a metal spike through his abdomen, from behind. “It’s gonna take more than a poke in the ribs to put down this old dog,” Brodski quips, boldy, and, then, Jason thrusts his machete through him. “Yeah, that oughta do it,” Brodski says.
Jason kills Grendel’s pilot Lou (Boyd Banks), and, the ship crashes through space station Solaris, which explodes. “All right, look. How do we get off this ship?” Rowan asks. “I don’t know,” Waylander (Derwin Jordan) replies. “Well, could you beam us off or something?” she poses. “Beam us off?” he wonders, puzzled. “The shuttle,” Tsunaron (Chuck Campbell) suggests. But, later, Kinsa (Melody Johnson) panics, and, blows herself up in the their only means of escape. Then, Jason appears, but, Tsunaron has upgraded his android Kay-Em (Lisa Ryder) into a gun-toting, leather-clad dominatrix with mad skills in both martial arts and sarcasm. “I’m afraid I’m gonna have to hurt you now,” she quips, and, proceeds to kick Jason‘s ass across the ship, eventually, blasting off an arm, a leg, some ribs, and half his head. But, Jason falls dead into a nano-bug station, and, later, is rebuilt as cyborg Uber-Jason who punches Kay-Em‘s head off her shoulders. Waylander sacrifices himself by blowing up part of Grendel, sending Jason hurtling through space toward the rest of the survivors, who have taken refuge in another part of the ship.
Best Kill #4: Jason punches a hole through Grendel’s hull, from the outside. “This sucks on so many levels,” Janessa (Melyssa Ade) quips, as the air pressure sucks her out of the small hole, into space.
A rescue shuttle, responding to a distress call, arrives, but, a power failure has closed the dock door. Brodski, whom Rowan found still alive earlier and repaired with nano-bugs, goes EVA (spacewalking) to fix the door from the outside, while Tsunaron distracts Jason with a Camp Crystal Lake, circa 1980, virtual reality simulation.
Best Kill #5: Jason, in the simulation, meets two buxom campers. “Hey, do you want a beer?” the brunette asks. “Or do you want to smoke some pot?” the blonde adds. “Or we can have pre-marital sex,” the brunette suggests, as the girls take off their shirts. “We love pre-marital sex,” they declare, slipping into their sleeping bags. Jason picks up one of the girls, zipped up tightly in her sleeping bag, and, begins to beat the other one with her.
Rowan, Tsunaron, and Kay-Em‘s head make it to the shuttle, while Brodski sacrifices himself, holding off Jason, as the other part of Grendel explodes. Jason is sent hurtling through space toward the shuttle, but, Brodski side-swipes him, and, together, they fall through Earth 2’s atmosphere, burning up. Two teenagers watch as Jason‘s charred mask falls to the bottom of a lake.
Awesome dumb fun! It’s like Friday the 13th mixed with The Terminator and Aliens!